Chefs Mike Sultan and Carolyn Nguyen announce the grand opening of The Mills Cafe in East Falls at Sherman Mills (3510 Scotts Lane). The new casual breakfast and lunch spot is their second brick and mortar that includes Revolution Taco in Center City, as well as Say Cheese Philadelphia, Street Food Philly and Taco Mondo food trucks, and 33rd Street Hospitality Catering. The Mills Cafe seats ten people, and is now open 9:00am to 3:00pm,Tuesday to Friday. It is located adjacent to the duo’s commissary kitchen that sources all their brands. For more information, call 267-391-7539. For more about 33rd Street Hospitality Catering, visit www.33rdstreethospitality.com.
The menu focuses on salads, sandwiches, pastry, baked goods and coffee. Meats used in the dishes are made and/or smoked in-house. Menu highlights include the dry aged burger (featuring Indian Ridge local dry-age beef blend of rib-eye and t-bone, topped with house bacon, cheese, lettuce and tomato), Sultan’s acclaimed smoked salmon (that previously was only available by special catering order) and Revolution Taco’s salted fudge chocolate brownies. On top of the regular menu, patrons will be the first to try new dishes that will debut as specials and later appear on permanent menus for Revolution Taco and the food trucks.
“There was a lack of quality but casual food in the East Falls area near Sherman Mills,” said Sultan. “We wanted to give the locals, neighbors and visitors a place they could go. We also wanted to have a public spot to make some of our smoked meats and other specials available to the public, while having a testing ground for new dishes that could appear on our other menus.”
Sultan and Nguyen’s commissary kitchen originally opened in Sherman Mills in 2014. They picked Sherman Mills as they both met there in the prep kitchen for the catering company Peachtree and Ward. The commissary kitchen prepares the food for their catering arm, but also Revolution Taco and their food trucks. They also rent space and support other food truckers in their space. As they look ahead, they wanted to convert a portion of the facility to host the public.
“It is a busy facility and we wanted to help meet the demand for our neighbors. We are launching with a simple and tasty menu, and could expand down the road. The vibe is casual and welcoming, and fits with the style of the kitchen operations bustling next door.”
The Mill’s Cafe features a custom wooden counter at the front, created by Sultan himself. Chalk art inside was done by local artist Benjamin Robinson. Rotating selections of art will come from fellow Sherman Mills neighbor Fresh Artists, a local group that uses art sales to support arts programs in the schools. “We are surrounded by so many great artists, we wanted to highlight the talent around us,” added Sultan.
The opening menu for The Mill’s Cafe includes the following items, ranging from $3 to $10:
House Bacon or Sausage Sandwich: on a long roll w/ eggs & cheddar cheese
Smoked Salmon on a Bagel - cream cheese, red onion, lettuce, tomato, cucumber
Lox Spread on a Bagel - cream cheese, red onion, lettuce, tomato, cucumber
Veggie Spread on a Bagel - cream cheese, red onion, lettuce, tomato, cucumber
Bagel - cream cheese
Chicken Salad Sandwich - croissant with lettuce, tomato, house-bacon
House Smoked Turkey Sandwich - lettuce, tomato, house bacon and house mayo
Dry Aged Burger -cheese, lettuce, tomato, house bacon, garlic herb spread
Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad - house Caesar dressing, Parmesan cheese, croutons
House Salad - house roasted beets, goat cheese, red wine vinaigrette
Rival Brothers Coffee - hot or iced
* all sandwiches come with a small mixed green salad or potato salad
Meats featured are smoked, cured, brined and/or made in-house. The smoker at The Mills Cafe and 33rd Street Hospitality Catering kitchen can smoke up to eight cases of chicken or 15 briskets at a time. On top of meats, they have also started smoking vegetables as well.
“I learned to smoke when I worked for a caterer called Max Hanson who used to sell smoked salmon for Thomas Keller, who is one of the most notable chefs in the world,” added Sultan. “Carolyn and I have tweaked and experimented with the process so that when we went into business together we wanted to smoke our meats from day one. We get a really high fat content Scottish salmon and do a really simple pretzel salt and sugar cure on it. Then we cold smoke it around 80 degrees for five hours. We make it here and it’s cheaper than most places would sell it for because we cut out the middleman by doing it in-house.”
For the dry aged beef burger, the meat is sourced from Indian Ridge. It has a house-made herb garlic mayo,house-made bacon, white cheddar, lettuce and tomato. The tomatoes are plucked fresh from the 33rd Street Hospitality Catering garden. House-made bacon uses pork belly from Indian ridge that is cured in dried garlic, red pepper flakes, curing salt, kosher salt and sugar. It gets cured for five to seven days, and smoked for eight hours. House-made smoked turkey breasts is also from Indian Ridge. After a two-day brine, it's smoked for about five hours and then finished in the oven before slicing.
Local food purveyors include Indian Ridge, Rockland Bakery and Rival Bros. Coffee. Meats are made and smoked in-house - including the smoked salmon, smoked turkey breast and smoked bacons.
“Rival Brothers was our choice from day one,” said Sultan. “It has that caramel, nutty, deep rich flavor that we look for in a good coffee. “We are grinding beans their beans fresh in a vintage grinder from an old supermarket.”
For a sweet ending to any stop at The Mills Cafe, look for Sultan’s salted fudge chocolate brownies. These are made fresh daily and sell out frequently at Revolution Taco. This now gives fans a second place to find them.
The Mills Cafe is Tuesday through Friday to start, and maybe expand days and hours over the winter. While there are no immediate plans to add dinner to the line-up, the cafe might explore weekend brunch hours down the road.
“Why should you stop by?” asked Sultan. “We have house-made everything. We don’t crack cans or open bags for anything. Even our mayo and dressings are made right here from scratch. We grow our own vegetables. We may be keeping it casual and simple, but fresh and top quality are always top on our list.”